Microsoft opens early testing on Office 2010

July 13, 2009 7:33:06 AM PDT
Microsoft Corp. is giving a select group of technology-savvy testers an early peek at Office 2010, but it's still keeping Web-based versions of Word, Excel and its other go-to programs under wraps. Office 2010 is due out in the early part of next year. Microsoft is adding more ways for people to work simultaneously on documents, organize their e-mail and edit videos and photos, among other changes.

Microsoft Office is by far the most popular software package for making presentations, spreadsheets and other documents. But the company has been slow to offer programs that run online and are accessible in Web browsers. Meanwhile Google Inc. has been pushing its own free versions for more than two years.

When Office 2010 arrives, consumers will be able to go online to view and create new files for free. Companies that have long-term licensing agreements for Office software can run the Web software on their own servers, or buy subscriptions to access the programs through Microsoft-operated data centers.

The company is not saying how much Office 2010 will cost. Microsoft will sell five variations on the package, two for big corporations and three available to consumers and small businesses.

Microsoft says people attending its annual partner conference this week in New Orleans will be among the tens of thousands invited to try the new software.

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